Nancy first came to my office with a common complaint of low back pain. With the active Boulder lifestyle, this is an increasingly common complaint, especially in aging women. At the time, Nancy was sixty-two years old and had never had back pain. She had never seen a chiropractor and prided herself on her healthy routine of good eating habits, regular exercise and yearly check-ups. She had never used preventative care such as chiropractic, or acupuncture. She had two acute back episodes in one month. It had become so bad she was experiencing numbness and tingling in her right leg, calf and into the bottom of her foot. She had not played tennis, been line dancing, nor was she sleeping well. The pain had become overwhelming. She was in agony. Even round the clock ibuprofen use was not helping.

After a thorough examination, I diagnosed Nancy with sacroiliac joint dysfunction due to degenerative disease of the lumbar spine and sacroiIiac joint. Nancy was unaware she had degenerative changes in her spine. She had never seen a chiropractor or had a low back x-ray. After a series of three comprehensive treatments, including adjustments, the pain localized – she stopped feeling numbness and tingling in her leg and foot, and only felt it at the source of the problem. Nancy was able to sleep through the night, and no longer needed pain relievers. She also returned to tennis and line dancing!

Degenerative disease of the spine can occur with aging, even in those who live a healthy lifestyle. This disease results in a loss of normal structure and function causing acute episodes of pain, chronic pain and at its worst nerve dysfunction (such as Nancy’s numb and tingling leg).

Early detection of degenerative disease can aid in preventing episodes of pain in aging women. Evaluation of the spine and preventative care aids in fixing misalignment or subluxations, reducing further degenerative changes and reduces the occurrence or painful episodes. Annual DXA scans are a vital part of this process, as well as radiographic analysis of the spinal structure. Care of the spine throughout adulthood includes recognizing pain, tightness and discomfort and seeing your chiropractor.

Other ways to protect your spine from early degeneration include: • Wellness care including chiropractic, massage and acupuncture • Yoga • Pilates • Corrective exercise, such as core strengthening • Postural evaluation • Proper ergonomics, both at home and work • Hydration • Maintaining a healthy weight

A helpful article further describing the cause, diagnosis, and treatment of degenerative spine and joint disease, also known as Osteoarthritis can be found here.

Questions and concerns about your spinal health may be directed to Dr. Amber Thompson, DC, CACCP: Well Spine Family Chiropractic 3223 Arapahoe Ave # 123, Boulder, CO 80303 ph: 720-403-8255 fx: 720-458-3937